When it comes to overall book selection, it’s hard to compare Amazon with other textbook rental companies. The online giant has the best selection of textbooks to rent online and combines that selection with Prime two-day shipping for excellent service.
You can search for textbook rentals on Amazon’s website, just like you would search for any other product. If a rental is available, the option will pop up next to the price and you can choose to rent the book. One great thing about renting eTextbooks from Amazon is the ability to choose your own end date for your electronic versions. This way you can only pay for the time you need the book. If you want to have access to the book forever, Amazon gives you the option to purchase a permanent electronic version. This company’s eTextbooks are available on Kindle tablets and on computers and smartphones through the Kindle app. You can’t read eTextbooks on Amazon’s normal Kindle eReaders, however.
For physical book rentals, if you don’t return your book on time you’ll be automatically charged a fee for a 15-day extension. If you don’t return the book after that extension you’ll be charged the full price of the textbook.
When we rented a textbook from Amazon, it arrived quickly because of Amazon Prime’s two-day shipping. College students can qualify for six months of free Prime Student and get two-day delivery if they sign up.
Unlike with Barnes & Noble, when our book from Amazon was delivered, it came in a minimalist cardboard sleeve instead of a full box, which wasn’t ideal for returning the textbook when we were finished. That being said, not having to deal with a full box for just a single book was also refreshing.
Amazon allows minimal highlighting and writing in its rental books, and if you exceed their subjective limit you’ll be required to pay for the full retail cost of the book when you return it. If you must mark up your book, highlighting is generally tolerated more leniently than writing.
With options to rent, buy and even sell your textbooks, Amazon has the best selection and some of the most convenient shipping options of any of the textbook rental companies we reviewed. If you already have Amazon Prime or if you need textbooks that are hard to find, Amazon is a great source for college textbook rentals.